LGBT Group Threatens Johns Hopkins Over Study on Homosexuality, Transgender

Gay rights activists kiss as they take part in a flash mob devoted to the World Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia in St. Petersburg, on May 17, 2014. AFP PHOTO / OLGA MALTSEVA (Photo credit should read OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP/Getty Images)

In a remarkable case of agenda politics eclipsing science, America’s largest LGBT group has threatened harm to Johns Hopkins University if it doesn’t censor the scientific findings of leading scholars on the origins of homosexuality and transgenderism.

In a recent major study titled “Sexuality and Gender: Findings from the Biological, Psychological, and Social Sciences,” researchers from Johns Hopkins found that there is virtually no scientific evidence that people are born gay or transgender.

In response, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the most powerful lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer advocacy group in the country, labelled the report an “attack on LGBT communities” and threatened to penalize Johns Hopkins University if it does not distance itself from the study.

HRC Foundation’s Healthcare Equality Index has begun rating hospitals with a numerical score this year and will evaluate whether hospitals’ practices reflect “responsible citizenship” (read: LGBT-friendly). If Hopkins’ leadership refuses to censor the study, “its Healthcare Equality Index score will be reduced substantially,” the LGBTQ group stated.

To their credit, University officials replied that while they remain committed to supporting the LGBT community they are also committed to academic freedom.

In a letter to the Johns Hopkins Medicine community, Paul B. Rothman, dean of the medical faculty, and Ronald R. Peterson, president of Johns Hopkins Health System, defended the right of scholars to publish their findings.

As an academic medical research institution, they wrote, “academic freedom is among our fundamental principles — essential to the self-correcting nature of scientific inquiry, and a privilege that we safeguard.”

Academic freedom, the officials noted, is “designed to afford members of the community the broadest possible scope for unencumbered expression, investigation, analysis, and discourse.”

The scholars conducting the study bear the highest credentials in the field. Dr. Paul R. McHugh is arguably the most important American psychiatrist of the last half-century, and served as director of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Johns Hopkins University for 27 years. Importantly, during McHugh’s tenure, the institute pioneered work with transgender individuals.

McHugh’s co-author is Dr. Lawrence S. Mayer, an epidemiologist trained in psychiatry and a scholar in residence at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

In their 116-page report, the scholars analyzed research from the biological, psychological, and social sciences, and concluded that many of the most frequently heard claims about sexuality and gender are not supported by scientific evidence.

“Some of the most widely held views about sexual orientation, such as the ‘born that way’ hypothesis, simply are not supported by science. The literature in this area does describe a small ensemble of biological differences between non-heterosexuals and heterosexuals, but those biological differences are not sufficient to predict sexual orientation, the ultimate test of any scientific finding,” the report said.

Ever faithful to its agenda, the Human Rights Campaign wants to bully Johns Hopkins into stifling free scientific inquiry when the results run contrary to its deeply held beliefs and desires. It is willing to punish a world-class institution for protecting academic freedom.

Fortunately, officials at Johns Hopkins seem to have enough integrity to reject these heavy-handed attempts, at least for now.

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